Finding the perfect nanny to look after your little one is never an easy decision. Along with making sure the schedules match and the personalities match, there’s a whole host of nanny criteria to consider. But before you even get to that, you need to decide where to start.
Two of the most popular routes are to search for one yourself online, using a nanny website or app, or hiring a nanny agency to find one for you. We asked experts for their opinions on these two methods, so you can decide which will work best for you and your family.
Nanny site: how it works
Online nanny sites act as a partner to help you find candidates. Although there are a variety of websites and online marketplaces, they differ in what they offer. Most of the time, you post a job offer on their site, either from your mobile phone or your personal computer, then they present you with a list of candidates according to your criteria. Then you can contact the caregivers for a fee.
Benefits of Using a Nanny Finder Website
- Easy access to professional nannies. National care-seeking sites often list applicants from across the United States, giving parents the ability to access caregivers, even if they are traveling. You also have the ability to source and email candidates around the clock – completely online or from the comfort of your mobile phone.
- Personal control. Parents who have more time or want to personally choose which candidates to interview may prefer an online or app-based option for that kind of control and flexibility.
- Affordability. Online nanny sites are a cheaper option for families who cannot afford a full-service nanny placement agency. Online services usually offer subscriptions from one month to one year.
- Online selection process for applicants. Many online sites offer criminal and background checks of providers for a subscription fee. Some sites also allow families to post reviews of providers. For more information, visit the Care.com Safety Center.
- Access to resources and advice. Online sites often provide resources similar to the documents used by agencies. For example, Care.com offers free online childcare guides and articles covering a variety of nanny topics, ranging from how to interview a nanny, how to handle nanny reference checks, how to create a nanny contract and how to prepare your children for a new nanny.
- A team of caregivers. Nanny websites often allow you to work with multiple caregivers simultaneously at no additional cost. Maybe you need a nanny during the week and a babysitter every weekend. Or, maybe you just need an after school babysitter or last minute babysitting. You get more flexibility to work with an unlimited number of caregivers to meet your specific life needs.
Considerations When Using a Nanny Finder Website
- Time. Online rates can be inexpensive, but it ultimately comes down to how much time you can invest in research. Sometimes you can get lucky and the first person to email you is perfect for the job. Other times, it may take a while to weed out candidates.
- Personal research. Resources on many websites come in the form of articles for parents to research and read on their own. You may need to determine the best options for your situation. and the advice that applies.
- Skill. If you’ve never hired a nanny before, you may not know what you’re looking for or even where to start. You may read the articles, but you may still feel like you need a helping hand.
Nanny agencies: how it works
Nanny agencies offer a full-service approach to finding caregivers and charge a placement or referral fee for their services. They handle the entire process, from finding candidates to screening them, and they guide parents through the hiring process and offer post-placement support.
Benefits of using a nanny agency
- Simplified hiring process. Agencies often go through a lengthy candidate screening process, from phone and in-person interviews and resume reviews to reference and background checks. Some even use an assessment exam to analyze a candidate’s childcare knowledge. “Our process takes many hours: we estimate between 15 and 20 hours per candidate”, explains Judi Merlin, CEO of A friend of the Family Staffing Corporation based in Athens, Georgia “We have found that only 1 in 10 candidates successfully complete our process.”
- Ongoing support for parents. Mimi Brady from Westside Nannies, a Beverly Hills and San Francisco agency, says one of the best things about using an agency is the professional advice, tips, and ongoing support that is offered. “For example, a full-service agency is able to educate you on topics such as putting your nanny on the payroll, offering benefits or benefits, and how to maintain a nanny relationship. -professional and respectful employer,” says Brady. “Most agencies still provide ears to listen, even after a candidate has been placed, and this can be extremely helpful in resolving issues regarding your new nanny’s training and communication issues.”
- Backup care options. What if your new nanny doesn’t work? Many agencies will find you a replacement within the first three months. Ask the nanny agency if they provide backup care in the form of temporary nannies to be replaced if the first nanny is not suitable. Online services usually do not replace nannies for free, but with your subscription you have the flexibility to search and choose another at any time.
- Nanny training and support. Many organizations offer ongoing support to caregivers that can be helpful. Your nanny may be eligible for occasional training in areas such as child development and communication strategies.
Considerations when using a nanny agency
- Price. All of these great deals come at a price. Prices vary depending on things like location, but for reference, at Westside Nannies, there is an engagement fee of $500 required before you begin your search, and there is also a placement fee, which is approximately 18% of the nanny’s annual salary. In some cases, nanny agencies can charge up to $4,000. You should discuss the agency’s fee structure early in the process so that you are not surprised by initial registration fees, placement fees when you hire a nanny, or additional fees later.
- Return of control. While agencies take care of the search, screening and qualification of potential candidates, some parents prefer to control the entire process themselves.
- Refund Policies. Before you sign on the dotted line, check what the nanny agency’s refund policy is – if there is even one. Some agencies only replace nannies for a short time. Learn about the different “what if” scenarios and make sure you’re comfortable with the fine print.
The bottom line
There is no one right way to find a nanny. One option is not better than the other. It all depends on what the parent is looking for in terms of support, personal control and flexibility over their search, and their budget. Choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.